OKLAHOMA CITY (June 13, 2019) – Secretary Chip Keating announced today the members of the Criminal Justice Reentry, Supervision, Treatment and Opportunity Reform (RESTORE) Task Force, created by Governor Stitt through Executive Order 2019-22 on May 20, 2019.
“I am excited to welcome the qualified and dedicated members of the RESTORE Task Force,” said Gov. Stitt. “This task force will bring together all stakeholders to discuss the criminal code, diversion programs, victims’ rights, and our prison system. When Oklahoma comes together as one team, we can create bold change that will offer our fellow citizens a second chance while also keeping our communities and streets safe. I look forward to hearing the RESTORE Task Force’s recommendations on how we can move the needle in criminal justice reform.”
The 15-person Task Force will be led by the Governor’s Secretary of Public Safety Chip Keating and includes a designee made by the Attorney General, the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Temp of the Senate.
The members of the task force include the following:
Chip Keating currently serves as the secretary of public safety and chair of the RESTORE Task Force. Keating has been a principal with Keating Investments, a real estate and oil and gas investment company, since March 2010. Keating served as an Oklahoma State Trooper from May 2001 to August 2004 and is a Director and Gubernatorial appointee of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System. Mr. Keating holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.
Tricia Everest will serve as the ex-officio chair of the RESTORE Task Force. Everest received her Bachelor of Science from Vanderbilt University in 1993. After returning to Oklahoma she earned her Juris Doctor from University of Oklahoma School of Law in 2003. Her professional law career led her to the Attorney General’s office where she was Assistant Attorney General representing the State of Oklahoma. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Oklahoma City University. Tricia serves as a Trustee of E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation and Chair of Inasmuch Foundation’s Advisory Committee. She also plays an integral role as the founding Chair of Palomar, Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center which removes barriers for abuse victims to access the services they need. Tricia was also the founding Chair of ReMerge, which diverts mothers from prison and empowers the women to build healthy foundations for themselves and their children. On June 10, 2019, Everest was appointed as chair of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority (Jail Trust).
Joy Thorp will serve on the board as Attorney General Mike Hunter’s designee. Thorp serves as senior deputy attorney general and chief of the attorney general’s Tulsa office. She previously presided over the state’s multicounty grand jury, where Thorp and her team investigated criminal matters from all 77 counties, with many successful prosecutions, including a 1984 cold case homicide. Thorp is a 17 year attorney, with over 12 years’ experience in prosecution serving as an assistant district attorney in Tulsa County as well as the District 27 District Attorney’s Office.
Rep. Jon Echols will serve on the board as Speaker Charles McCall’s designee. Echols was first elected to represent House District 90 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2012 where he served as Assistant Majority Whip. In 2014, Echols was appointed by the Speaker to serve as the Vice-Chair of the Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee continuing to serve as an Assistant Majority Whip. He is currently the House majority floor leader. Echols graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Political Science degree. He then went on to Oklahoma City University School of Law. The lifetime Oklahoman has started and operated several Oklahoma businesses, and through them, he now employs hundreds of Oklahomans. In addition to his small businesses, he also practices law with his family’s firm, Echols and Associates, and serves as an adjunct law professor at OCU.
Sen. Darcy Jech will serve on the board as President Pro Temp Greg Treat’s designee. Jech has deep roots in Oklahoma and his family has farmed here since statehood. Born and raised east of Kingfisher, Jech attended Seminole State College and later graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Before his 2014 election to the state Senate, he served as a member of the Kingfisher City Council, Kingfisher Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Kingfisher Hospital Board, the Kingfisher Educational Foundation Board, the Kingfisher Industrial Foundation Board, and Central Oklahoma Red Cross Board. Jech sits on a variety of Senate committees, including judiciary and public safety.
Scott Crow currently serves as the Interim-Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Crow began his employment with ODOC on April 6, 1996 where he has served in a variety of roles from a special investigator at John Lilley Correctional Center in Boley to his most recent role as Chief of Operations, a position he held until being named interim ODOC Director. Before ODOC, Mr. Crow was a police officer in Cache where he was promoted to Assistant Police Chief. He was also a Deputy Sheriff with the Comanche County Sheriff’s Office where he rose to the rank of captain.
Terri White currently serves as the commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. A passionate advocate for individuals experiencing mental illness and addiction, White has helped lead ODMHSAS to become nationally known for its children’s behavioral health services; community-based treatment programs; technological innovations such as “telepsychiatry;” and the integration of behavioral health care into primary healthcare settings. White, appointed commissioner in May 2007, also was the first woman to serve as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Health, holding that post under then-Governor Brad Henry from 2009 to 2011. A native of Edmond, White received both her Master of Social Work and her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from OU.
Steve Kunzweiler, the State's prosecutor for the Fourteenth Judicial District of Oklahoma, serves the citizens of Tulsa County. Approximately 50 attorneys and 70 support staff work under his direction. Elected by Tulsa County voters in November 2014, Steve Kunzweiler and his staff are responsible for reviewing police investigations to determine whether the facts, the evidence and the law warrant filing a charge to initiate a criminal prosecution. Kunzweiler holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri and a Juris Doctorate from the University Of Tulsa School Of Law.
Kim Garrett is the founder and CEO of Palomar in Oklahoma City, an evidence-based national model that centralizes the vital services of 27 agencies into one building to alleviate obstacles to access resource and to help and empower victims of violence. After earning a master’s degree in social work and moving to Oklahoma City in 2011, Garrett was recruited by former Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty to start a victim services unit in the OKC Police Department because of her unique culmination of experience in social work and law enforcement. Kim went on to found Palomar, the nonprofit Oklahoma City Family Justice Center in 2017. Agencies housed within Palomar includes advocacy, law enforcement, legal aid, support for survivors of human trafficking, children and adult protective services and many more.
Jari Askins is a Duncan native who has been involved in criminal justice issues in a variety of roles during her career from serving as judge and state representative to both chairman and executive director of the Pardon and Parole Board. The former lieutenant governor currently serves as the Administrative Director of the Courts, where, under the direction of the Chief Justice and Oklahoma Supreme Court, she coordinates judicial operations and personnel throughout the state.
Robert Ravitz is a 1976 graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, and he currently serves as Public Defender of Oklahoma County, a position he assumed in 1987. Mr. Ravitz is also an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law, teaching in the areas of trial practice, capital litigation, criminal procedure, and wrongful convictions. In 1996, Mr. Ravitz was the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award as Oklahoma’s outstanding criminal defense lawyer. Ravitz successfully argued Cooper v. Oklahoma before the United States Supreme Court, where the Court unanimously concluded the Oklahoma standard for determining competency to stand trial was unconstitutional. Ravitz has also received the Angie Debo Civil Liberties Award for significant contributions to civil liberties in 1985.
Steven Buck currently serves as the secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives where he is responsible for 34 agencies, boards and commissions, including the Department of Human Services and Oklahoma Juvenile Affairs (OJA). He previously served the state as secretary of health and human services under the Fallin administration. A native Oklahoman, he is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a masters in administration leadership from the University of Oklahoma
Justin Brown was named the Director of the Department of Human Services by Governor Stitt in June of 2019. Prior to this, Brown served as the Chief Executive Officer of Choice Capital Partners following an eight year career in healthcare finance. During his banking career, Brown was involved in financing a range of healthcare entities across all industry segments, including seniors housing. For Choice Capital Partners, Brown directly managed all capital needs, acquisition and development strategies, investor relations, and directed the company’s core business strategy. Additionally, Brown played a role in programming and resident satisfaction, community design and development, and improved quality of life.
Todd Gibson currently serves as the sheriff of Cleveland County. Sheriff Gibson began his career with the Warr Acres Police Department in the 1990s before joining the Norman Police Department in 1998. He served in Norman until 2016, retiring from the force as a Captain. While at Norman, Gibson served as project manager for the $2.8 million renovations of the police investigation center and was Criminal Investigations Division Commander, a position that put him in charge of roughly 50 personnel and a $3 million annual budget. He also served as Police Incident Commander for multiple natural disasters in Cleveland County (including the 2010 and 2013 tornadoes), commanded the Norman police tactical team, and oversaw five officer-involved shooting investigations. Gibson served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve before obtaining degrees in corrections and criminal justice from Oklahoma City Community College and the University of Central Oklahoma.
Rhonda Bear is the Program Director for Stand in the Gap’s Women in Transition program. The Women in Transition program addresses twelve core issues that women must understand and address in their lives in order to position themselves to succeed in staying out of the prison system, living free from the bondage of their past and living successfully in the “free” world. Rhonda is the Founder and Director of 13 women’s transition homes and recently added 1 men’s home. She teaches the Stand in the Gap’s Women in Transition program in multiple prisons and county jails. Rhonda graduated from Tulsa Community College with a degree in Community Program Management and Northeastern State University with a degree in Social Work.
Kelly Doyle was appointed to the Pardon and Parole Board by Governor Stitt in February of 2019. Doyle currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Kelly oversees CEO’s program and operations in Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan, and Colorado. Since joining CEO in 2011, Kelly has led the launch of nine CEO offices - assisting communities as they increase employment opportunities for people coming home from prison and jails. Kelly has been working in the employment reentry field for over ten years. Prior to coming to CEO, Kelly managed the Department of Labor’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative through the Community Service Council in Tulsa. Kelly holds an M.A. from University of Chicago and a B.S. from the University of Montana.
The RESTORE Task Force will submit by December 6 criminal justice reform recommendations for consideration during the 2020 Legislative session. The Executive Order specifically calls for the task force to look at how to reduce Oklahoma’s incarceration rate, reduce the recidivism rate, and enhance and establish diversion programs. The Task Force will work in collaboration with the Criminal Justice Reclassification Coordination Council currently preparing a report to modernize and classify the criminal code, which will set the stage for additional sentencing reform and bail bond reform.
The task force has set up an e-mail address for the public to submit their ideas and input for reforming the criminal justice system. E-mail submissions will be provided to task force members as they work towards the final report: RESTORE@sps.ok.gov.
EO 2019-22 can be read by clicking here: https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/executive/1874.pdf.